The week marks the start of Southeastern Conference play, meaning we now have three of the five major conferences active. The SEC has historically been a hotbed for future NFL prospects and this year will be no different as several top prospects will be making their season debuts.
Alabama opens their 2020 season with Missouri. They’ll be rolling out an offense that has gone through a few significant changes, most notably the exits of Tua Tagavailoa, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs, who were all selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. However, they should move through this week with relative ease. From a gambling/fan-watching perspective, the offensive line will be a key area to watch as the team lost its longtime strength and conditioning coach this offseason. While the change may not make an immediate impact, a dropoff in performance across the offensive line could impact team results and overall production.
Unlike most teams, Alabama can absorb the losses of two first-round WRs due to it’s depth at the position. Devonta Smith elected to return to school and Jaylen Waddle begins his third season. As with Ruggs and Jeudy, their career production may require some additional nuance when evaluating due to the glut of talent at the position. Smith would be my early favorite to put up a high market share season, but both are expected to improve in that area. As it stands, both are considered first-round devy picks and likely top NFL draft picks. If they can improve their overall profile despite the change at the QB position, either could enter the top WR conversation.
Y'all. We're 4 days from SEC football.
Here's that time DeVonta Smith went into full cheat code mode.pic.twitter.com/A1qY3F9KJO
— SDS Podcast (@TheSDSPod) September 22, 2020
Similar to Alabama, LSU will look very different than the 2019 team that won a National Championship. Joe Burrow was the top overall pick to the Bengals, Justin Jefferson is on the Vikings, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is starting for the Chiefs, and Ja’Marr Chase decided to opt out of the season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. In fact, only two offensive starters return for the defending champions as LSU begins its season against a new-look Mississippi State team. Most notably from the returning group is a player I’ll be watching closely this season, Terrace Marshall.
Marshall is the one returning receiver from the group that put up one of the top offensive seasons in college football history. And Marshall might be the biggest TD threat of the bunch. Despite missing two games with a stress fracture in his foot and exiting the college football playoff semi-final game early, Marshall scored 13 TDs on 46 receptions. If Marshall can stay healthy and the offense doesn’t fall off the face of the earth, he should see his stock rise along with his market shares.